Spending on single-family home construction remains 40% below the levels of a decade ago, but new forecasts project that U.S. investment in residential remodeling and repairs this year will surpass records set during the housing boom. - WALL STREET JOURNAL
Currently, you maybe living in a home you have decided to stay in for a while and invest your money in remodeling. It might be a little outdated and need to be refreshed. It might not meet the needs of your family anymore. It might not be a luxurious as you want it to be. AARON B DUKE - a full-service design build firm - can help you reimagine your current home into your dream home with our signature quality and craftsmanship.
You might have realized you have outgrown your current house and need more space. Perhaps you have decided that your own home gym and movie theatre are must haves to your home. AARON B DUKE can design your addition, get it approved and permitted with the city, and complete the construction for you.
SPACE PLANNING AND INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE
You might have realized you are living in a home that no longer works for you. Especially, if you are living in an older home. People didn’t live the way we live today. You might need more storage space for your clothes or maybe your floor plan isn’t as open and spacious as you would like it to be for your style of entertainment. AARON B DUKE can design your addition, get it approved and permitted with the city, and complete the construction for you.
Maybe it has been a while since your homes furnishing have been updated. If you have decided it is time for the Laura Ashley prints to go, we can help bring your interiors into the 21st Century with our signature modern luxury with a classic and timeless style. AARON B DUKE will expertly redesign your interiors to make them suite your lifestyle of today.
KITCHEN DESIGN AND REMODELING
Has the kitchen become the hub of your entertaining? Maybe you want more of a classic approach to entertaining with a closed kitchen? Are you just running out of space for all your dishes and cooking supplies? Do those cabinets just not aesthetically appeal to you anymore? Maybe it is time for new top-of-the-line appliances? From space planning, material and finish selections, custom-cabinetry design, AARON B DUKE will design a kitchen remodel that you will love to cook meal for friends and family and accommodate all the modern luxuries home owners are looking for today in their kitchens.
BATHROOM DESIGN AND REMODELING
Whether it is the powder room, guest bathroom, children’s bathrooms, or your master suite, AARON B DUKE with command and authority will design your bathroom remodel with expertise. Whether it is time to update finishes and fixtures, or you need to space plan that master suite reminiscent of a luxurious hotel suite, we have you covered. Let us create bathrooms for your guests and family to enjoy for years to come.
In Southern California, outdoor living is a must. From swimming pools, landscaping, to outdoor kitchens and living spaces, we love to spend our time outside. AARON B DUKE can seamless blend your interiors into resort style living that compliments the architecture of your home. With our landscape experts, we will create the ultimate luxury experience for you to enjoy alone or with a host of friends and family.
Are you ready to remodel your current home and make it your dream home,
So, you have decided to build a new home. New construction is a very exciting experience. You get to create your dream home just the way you envisioned it. It is time to put together a group of collaborators – your dream team.
I recently started working on a new construction project. The client had already worked with an architect, had plans, and already was finished with the framing when they contacted me. They have a wonderful contractor that has been a pleasure to work beside. Unfortunately, they contact me a little too late.
It is my opinion that anytime you begin a new construction endeavor, you should assemble a cast of individuals that will be responsible for the design and execution before you begin breaking ground. The architect, the interior designer, and the landscape designer are the top three professionals that I would acquire first.
I describe my business is a luxury lifestyle design and architectural coordination studio. On some projects, I am the Creative Director. I am the liaison between the client, the contractor, architect, and landscape designer. In fact, this is my preferred method of working on a project. It allows for one cohesive aesthetic and direction. It also alleviates my clients from having to meet several different professionals with their busy schedules.
There is lots of coordination to consider. Where the architect places the windows in the bedroom has an effect on where the furniture is placed. That window also creates a view to the grounds of the home. How will the landscape designer create a pleasing view?
There seems to be a trend that I find awfully frieghtening. A client will have an architect create a set of plans. They will begin construction and then hire an interior designer. Separately, they hire a landscape architect. These three people never meet each other and are working as separate entities. Architects are great at designing the structure of the home, but many are not experts at space planning. This is where interior designers can really help. We consider the amount of space and use of the interior space.
Finally, please understand the best architects, interior designers, and landscape architects will be there from day one of your project until the day you move into your new home. ALL these principles should be hired for the duration of the project.
This is a long-term relationship. These individuals along with the contractor will be your dream team, collaborating to bring you the best outcome.
If you are ready to assemble your dream team and begin a new construction project, CONTACT US TODAY!
In light of the recent election, there has been much talk about Make America Great Again. Well, I have news for you. It already is great. One of the key talking points has been creating jobs for Americans. Well, I have to tell you one-way consumers, interior designers, architects, contractors and other tradespeople can do that. Start buying products that are produced in America by American workers and put your money in local, small businesses.
Over the past several months, I have begun to ask vendors where they are manufacturing. Moving forward, we are making strong efforts to support showrooms and vendors that produce goods in the United States. We no longer support companies that are producing inferior products of poor quality and craftsmanship that are massed produced in factories in countries that do not pay their people livable wages.
In addition, we are making a consorted effort to support our local small business owners who are producing furniture, textiles, wall coverings, floor coverings, and other goods right here in Los Angeles.
Quintus Home produces furniture manufactured in Los Angeles. I have to commend, Jobst Blachy, CEO of Quitus Home. Not only is he producing fine furniture in Los Angeles, he also has a group of artisan partners that are creating handcrafted wall coverings, like Paper Mills and Studio Bel Vetro with artisans that design and fabricate unique, luxury lighting. In addition, Mr. Blachy is a humanitarian. From now until the inauguration, 5% of their sales will be going to organizations that support equal rights for ALL people, including: Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, and Everytown For Gun Safety.
Rose Tarlow Melrose House is another luxury trade showroom that produces handcrafted, artisan furniture here locally in Los Angeles. For over thirty years, RTMH has been producing furniture of the highest quality and craftsmanship.
My drapery workroom, Ramos Designs in based in North Hollywood. It is a small, family owned and operated business. They produce window treatments from simple roman shades to the most elaborate designs. The drapery hardware they use is custom designed for each project and fabricated here in Los Angeles.
Gina Bershnieder Furniture is based right here in Los Angeles. In addition to their own line of furniture and upholstery, they create one-of-a-kind pieces. Designers, quit taking the easy road. Design something custom for your clients that no one else will have. We have the resources right here for you to imagine it, design it, create it, and control the quality and craftsmanship down to the finite details.
Brian Klass is the only person in town that I used to make cabinets for my projects. Dan Wade and I have collaborated together on a number of custom millwork projects. He comes with decades of knowledge. He will sit down with my clients and explain to them exactly what they are getting and work with them and their budget to give the highest quality product and sees to it that excellence in design, service, and quality are consistent every step of the way.
The Machina Group is a local contractor. Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best contractors across the world. The Machina Group takes pride in their work. Every detail counts. There 30 plus years of combined knowledge and experience is paramount in creating the design, providing unparrelled service to discerning clients, and creating an experience that clients want to use them time and time again – and refer them to their friends and family. As a designer, they are the only ones I let do any work on my house. If that isn’t a promotion, I don’t know what is.
Designers this is a call to action. We must take a stand. We must stop designing down to a price. We must educate our clients. We must support our local, small business owners and workrooms.
Consumers this is also a call to action for you. We must start asking where the products we purchase are being manufactured. We must stop making decisions based on the bottom line. We must start purchasing products of quality and craftsmanship and say no to inferior products that are massed produced in countries where they do not support livable wages for their employees.
This is an economic decision. This is a human rights decision. This is a decision that makes DESIGN and AMERICA great.
Yes, we know that producing fine home décor in America comes with an additional price tag. Isn’t it well worth it to invest in our own people and small business owners?
If you are ready to help AARON B DUKE make DESIGN great again, contact us today!
Inevitably, when I meet someone for the first time, the topic of what do you do for a living always seems to make its way into polite conversation. When I inform them I am in the business of interior design and architecture, I am often met with the reply: “Oh, that must be fun. You get to shop all day.” I kindly smile, but realize they have no idea of what it is I actually do or have little regard for what designers and architects really do in their day-to-day life. Interior Design and Architecture were once well-respected professions. Somewhere, there has been a decline.
One could say it is the fact that universities are handing out degrees by the thousands to people who achieve a mediocre level of understanding of the role and duties of interior designers and architects. They have literally saturated the market and job force. If you take a in depth look at those that actually completed degrees in the field of interior design or architecture, how many of them are actually working for firms, own their own business, or even still work in the industry?
I also have to give respect to those who never went to formal education and entered into the field. I have a great deal of admiration for these individuals. The one thing I do know is they have surrounded themselves with others to help them be successful. I have to applaud them. It is virtuous to know the areas that you excel, and to surround you with others who are the best at what they do. Let them compliment you. I think one of the greatest design talents; Vicente Wolf is a prime example of someone with no formal design education that is one of the most talented sought after interior designers of this generation.
I admit; at one time, I was a fan of HGTV. That was until I went to school and gained a greater understanding of what an interior designer’s job description and duty to clients and the world. It didn’t align with what I was seeing on HGTV. In 2011, being a young, emerging designer, I was approached by HGTV to be a designer on a new reality series, Showhouse Showdown. Looking for money, success, fame, and glamour, I jumped on the bandwagon to be disheartened at the world of “reality television.” Of the approximately twelve designers from across the country, Corey Damen Jenkins – to my knowledge – is the only designer that leveraged his appearance on the show to skyrocket his career.
I believe HGTV has done a disservice not only to designers, architects, landscape architects, and real estate agents, but I believe it has done damage to it’s viewers by setting up unrealistic expectations when it comes to budgets and timelines for projects. Let’s be honest.
A few years ago, a new platform, Houzz emerged. “We are a platform for home remodeling and design, bringing
homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community.” I had dismissed it for several years. With the importance of website, Google rankings, blogging, and social media in today’s industry, I thought this might be a viable option to attract more business. I
did my research. I reached out to a several designers across the country that I r
espected. They all had positive feedback on how Houzz has been an affirmative factor in their business. I set up an account. Almost two years later, I have yet to receive a job from this site. Under their Advice tab, there is a forum for Design Dilemma. It is filled with over 300,000 homeowners seeking free advice for their design projects. It seems to me with a site that boasts over 1,000,000 professionals, you as a homeowner would seek out the services and advice of one of these professionals rather than relying on them to give you free advice. At the end of the day, this is a business for me. I can’t afford to give out free advice.
In closing, I feel hopeful for the future of our industry. It is cliché, but the cream always rises to the top. AARON B DUKE is a luxury brand that focus on not only excellence in design, but providing service and an experience for our clients. We carefully chose the projects and clients we decide fit into our core values and beliefs. Craftsmanship, quality, and excellence are paramount to the designs we create, as well as the showrooms, vendors, contractors, and tradespeople we collaborate with on a daily basis to bring our clients design not intended for the masses, but for those who are discerning, worldly, and sophisticated. We enjoy working with clients who appreciate our knowledge, expertise, and experience. There is no need to question our every choice. We chose ones who trust that we are making the finest decisions in their best interest.
We unveiled three different services this year to appeal to a wide audience, while keeping our brand and values in place.
Are you ready to experience the AARON B DUKE difference?
I remember in 2008 murmurings of E-Design. It was a new way for designers to work with clients virtually and was going to change the interior design profession. Soon, websites began to appear offering E-Design services. I began to notice designers adding E-Design to their list of services. I did my research on E-Design. I looked into websites and designers that offered E-Design and how they were approaching this business model. After careful consideration, I decided E-Design is not part of the services or brand of AARON B DUKE. E-Design – at best – offers a service. AARON B DUKE offers design, service, and an experience your can’t recreate through E-Design.
HOW DO YOU BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLIENTS THROUGH E-DESIGN?
My entire career in interior design has been relationship building. I have developed lasting relationships with vendors, showrooms, tradespeople, and contractors – and most importantly with my clients. In the era of chic technology, we are connected via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. What ever happened to one-on-one, face-to-face interactions with humans? Often times, my initial contact with a client will be through email or a phone call. I can learn so much more about a client and how to best serve them by actually sitting down with them in their home and learning about them. I fail to see how this can be achieved through an exchange of email communication.
HOW DO YOU CREATE DESIGNS THAT REFLECT A CLIENTS LIFESTYLE
Many of these online services and designers that provide E-Design promise design and decor services all done by email, Skype, snail mail or phone calls – you chose. Upon purchase, you will provide photos, measurements, budget guidelines and inspiration photos. After approximately 2 weeks, you will receive, a design scheme, layout options, furniture and accessory board with options within your budget. Then after you have made your selections, purchases and ordered a style consultation with vignettes and styling ideas for that curated finishing touch. Has this achieved interior design and decorating? Yes, but I feel in the most sterile way. Interior design and decorating is much more than creating pretty well appointed rooms. Which brings me to my next topic.
WHAT WE DO IT GREATER THAN THE SERVICES OF AN E-DESIGNER
Don’t get me wrong. I think E-Design is a wonderful option for those in locations that might not have access to professional interior designers. It allows them to work with someone remotely that they might not have the opportunity to work with in their location. The services provided are often at a reduced cost of those who provide professional interior design services. In a way, it has brought interior design to the masses, but I can’t stand by and say that is a good for our profession.
My first day of design school, I had no clue about the journey I was about to embark. A passionate professor opened my eyes to the possibilities and opportunities within interior design. It wasn’t just decoratoring. Interior Designers do so much more. We design every space you enter each day be it your home, restaurants, churches, banks, theaters, offices, add infinitum.
We take into consideration access, lighting, acoustics, seating, and places to store or set things down. We also poccess knowledge of health and safety considerations , and we pay special attention to special needs. We consider the psychological and bevavior impact of the design. We look forward to the environmental impacts our choices make with design.
Many designers approach projects from different perspectives. These approaches to design cut across specialties, such as sustainable or green design, universal or accessible design, design for aging in place, and others.
When you hire a professional interior designer, you get the benefit of an experienced professional who can solve problems, help you avoid costly mistakes and, most importantly, create a space designed specifically to meet your needs.
Are you ready for the professional interior design experience, CONTACT AARON B DUKE TODAY!
As an interior designer who provides bathroom design and remodeling services, I am often the first call a homeowner makes when they want to remodel their master bathroom. They may or may not have a contractor lined up, but they know they want AARON B DUKE to design their new luxury master bathroom.
No matter where the conversation starts, when inevitably get around to the question of cost. With my wealth of knowledge of design, the construction industry, and typical job cost associated with cabinets, finishes, and plumbing fixtures, I can give them a ballpark of the cost associated with the work they want done and the vision they wish to achieve.
Usually, it’s preceded with statements that involve the word “just.”
“I just want to flip the shower and the closet.”
“I just want to bump-out the wall two feet.”
“I just want a higher ceiling in this area.”
Homeowners have an unrealistic idea of all these “just” statements, because someone, somewhere, has said for whatever reason, that job shouldn’t really cost that much.
I hear statements like: You are not really changing anything; The building industry is in a slump and needs the work; My neighbor did it for $6,000.00 himself; and apparently, there are people who do this for free.
Whatever the reason, it often feels like the homeowners have been set up to be absolutely shocked by the real cost of a bathroom remodel. A bathroom remodel is an investment in you and your home.
Here is the reality in Los Angeles: it's tough to remodel a master bathroom for less than $40,000, - and even worse – that is just a start. It is easy for that number to reach $80,000.00 or more when we are talking high-end residential design budgets.
Then comes the, “While we are at it, we might as well ____________ (fill in the black). Add a tankless water heater, add a steam shower, and install radiant flooring. All these additions add line items to the proposal and definitely drive the cost of a bathroom remodel.
Of course, you can always find someone willing to do the work for less. Often times, they are unlicensed, uninsured, and unbounded, which raises a whole host of other expenses should something go wrong.
If you are lucky, that person will be a responsible, talented builder or contractor on their way up, who is still charging unrealistic prices and does not yet realize it. Good for you! Grab them and put them to work.
If you are unlucky, though, that person will underbid your project. Why? Their idea of a quality job is not your idea of a quality job.
The hallmark of AARON B DUKE projects is quality, craftsmanship, and excellence from the design to every single contractor and tradesperson we employ.
Are you ready now to begin that master bathroom remodel?
Contact AARON B DUKE today to get started envisioning your new dream master bathroom remodel.
Recently, I sat down with luxury real estate expert, Aileen Comora of The Agency's Beverly Hills Office to discuss the perceived and added value of bathroom remodels. Ms. Comora had an interesting perspective as both a buyer who remodeled her home and being one of Los Angeles’ premiere real estate agents. “A really nice bathroom enhances your life psychologically. Some people have to have a bathtub in their bathroom. Think about your life and the lifestyle you want to live. If you home is your haven, invest in it like you would a really nice pair of shoes. Surround yourself with the best of everything,” she said.
Ms. Comora also noted, some luxury homebuyers are looking for something that is completely turnkey and ready to move in, while others are looking for a project to make it personal to them.
With any major bathroom remodel, you should consider: your motivation; how much you will spend; and the anticipated return on that investment.
Perhaps you plan to sell and hope this renovation will impact resale value, in which case your goal is a direct monetary return. Updating your baths may be enough to give your house an edge over other homes for sale in your area. How much of your investment are you likely to get back in resale value of your home in Los Angeles? Our research found, a typical bathroom remodel begins around $25,000.00, while a more upscale remodel will start at $58,000.00. According to a report compiled by Remodeling Magazine, you can recoup approximately 55-60% of that cost in the resale value. Other sources have put that number much higher.
HOW MANY BATHROOMS SHOULD YOU HAVE?
Most homes are equipped with plenty of bathrooms. Depending on the size and date of your home, it may only have one or two bathrooms. For most in the luxury market - they expect more. Remember, they lived a much different lifestyle than we do today. Prospective buyers expect to see multiple baths. Most of them know the time and resources involved in adding new bathrooms - which may be a deal breaker. Some have suggest considering adding the second bathroom before you update the existing one. Buyers will definitely be more attracted to your home. Some reports say you can recoup 80% or more of the remodeling expenses. What a great return on investment!
WHAT DO OTHER HOMES IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD HAVE?
Do your research. Find out what is typical in your area and look at what the popular features are for homes for sale in your neighborhood. How much you get back depends in part on the value of homes in your area, the value of your home, and the quality of your project. Also, make sure you invest what is inline for your area and neighborhood. It isn't wise to invest so much that you price yourself out of your neighborhood.
MAKE IT MOVE-IN READY
We spend a great deal of time in our bathrooms. They can be the most expensive and difficult to renovate spaces in a home to renovate. Some perspective homeowners want the feeling they can move in without undering major remodeling - an attractive bathroom design is one way to aleveate that stressor. Make sure structural elements are in shape but also focus on visual items like tiles and fixtures that will grab attention their attention.
GO FOR THE WOW FACTOR
Pick a few select items that will catch people’s attention as soon as they enter the room. A large glass shower enclosure, a stunning vanity, or an eye-catching tile detail will enhance the space and make it more appealing. Depending on available budget and the value of your home, you may need to pick and choose which items to incorporate. Use a more expensive tile for a feature or opt to update faucets and sinks. A few high-end details are enough to give your bathroom design the updated look you want to appeal to potential buyers.
Whether you are looking to sell your home, or you just purchased a home that needs bathroom remodeling, contact AARON B DUKE.
Luxury homes should be a place of comfort. Designing our life of luxury includes spaces where we can go without shoes. Shoes worn in public can track all sorts of non-desirables (the list of which is longer that as Sepulveda Boulevard) into our sanctuaries where we should be free to go without shoes. How do we institute and politely enforce a no shoes rule in our homes?
In Episode 67 Lizzie and Dan field questions from Canada and Korea about proper "no-shoes" rules and etiquette. You can skip to 31:55 to hear their answers.
Luxury 2nd homes and AIR BNB rentals can definitely allow us to fulfill our desires of designing luxurious leisure time into our everyday living by allowing us to stay at or even own property that we may otherwise not be able to afford. However, with the new ability to connect with strangers and rent automatically through technology comes new etiquette questions. Tip or no tip? Owner Occupied Home Stay or Private Property Rental? What do do if your timing changes?
In Episode 81 Lizzie and Dan discuss home rental Air BNB etiquette, owner occupied vs private property and choosing your rental appropriately. You can skip to 35:00 to hear their answers.
Choosing Wisely and Clear Communication
Plan early, plan ahead...communicate changes, do your best to communicate with your host...
Tipping and Host Gifting
Read your contracts, if there is a cleaning fee, there is no tip required, read and understand the expectations, follow the instructions and stick to the guidelines set by your host.
CREATION BY ANTON LACHKY
As an interior designer, I look outside the world of interior design for inspiration. Being a performer when I was younger, dance has always been a source of inspiration to me. The whole process of creating a dance piece like designing a home. I am so grateful to be living in Los Angeles at this time. We are seeing a Renaissance of the visual and performing arts.
"Sheer animal magneticism." -San Francisco Weekly
Los Angeles local favorites BODYTRAFFIC are helping to establish a major center for contemporary dance. Founded by Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, BODYTRAFFIC has skyrocketed to the forefront of the concert dance world. The Joyce Theater Foundation named them "the company of the future", Dance Magazine's 25 to Watch in 2013, and The Los Angeles Times named them the Best of Culture. The young company is already internationally recognized for their high quality of work.
3 Preludes with special guest pianist Inna Faliks
This nostalgic work captures the essence of American favorite composer, Gershwin’s sophistication and BODYTRAFFIC’s vivaciousness. I can't wait to see this piece. Gershwin is one of my favoriate composers, and I can't wait to see the personality of BODYTRAFFIC brings it to life.George Gershwin was one of the most significant American composers of the 20th century, known for popular stage and screen numbers as well as classical compositions.
George Gershwin was born on September 26, 1898, in Brooklyn, New York. At age 15, Gershwin dropped out of school and began playing piano professionally. He was one of the most sought after musicians in America. A composer of jazz, opera and popular songs for stage and screen, many of his works are now standards within a few short years. Gershwin died immediately following brain surgery on July 11, 1937, at the age 38.
In 1935, a decade after composing “Rhapsody in Blue,” Gershwin debuted his most ambitious composition, “Porgy and Bess.” The composition, which was based on the novel “Porgy” by Dubose Heyward, drew from both popular and classical influences. Gershwin called it his “folk opera,” and it is considered to not only be Gershwin’s most complex and best-known works, but also among the most important American musical compositions of the 20th century.
Following his success with “Porgy and Bess,” Gershwin moved to Hollywood and was hired to compose the music for a film titled “Shall We Dance,” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It was while working on a follow-up film with Astaire that Gershwin’s life would come to an abrupt end.
Private Games: Chapter One (preview)
This work uses high-octane movement and penetrating imagery to bring the audience into a mysterious and explosive world created by choreographer, Anton Lachky.
Anton was born in 1982. He started to dance at the age of 5, in the prestigous folk dance company Maly Vtácnik. He continued his dance education at the J.L.Bellu Conservatory in Banská Bystrica, where he collaborated with friends and also participated in M.A.P.A. (Moving Academy for Performing Arts).
In 2001, he went on to train at the University of Bratislava with A. Teresa de Keersmeaker, followed by further training at P.A.R.T.S.
Touring 48 countries in all over the world for two years, Anton became member of Akram Khan Company in March 2004.
He has been invited in most of the european countries and has been teaching in Asia and North and South America, too.
"It's all about the pills" which will premiered in April 2015 is his latest creation.
Death Defying Dances (World Premiere!)
This is a colorful and soulful piece inspired by the persona and lyrics of Judy Henske, "Queen of the Beatniks."